Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisconsin - The Face of Democracy: Recall Elections

Democracy at Work

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal (and more or less direct) participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law.

Scott Walker marched into the Wisconsin Capitol on January 3, 2011 with an anti-Wisconsin agenda - dismantle the unions, abolish women's rights and put the state of Wisconsin on a path backwards. Swept into office on the Republican wave, Walker was said to be a moderate republican, who would reduce taxes, cut spending, create jobs and grow the Wisconsin economy. This all sounded great to the voters of Wisconsin, so they elected him Governor with 52% of the vote. Unfortunately, voters were unaware of Walker's plan to balance the budget on the backs of government employees with the exception of law enforcement personal and firefighters. With control of Republican State Senate and legislative maneuvers Scott Walker was able to pass his anti-union bill and sign it into law on March 11.

The people of Wisconsin did not sit around and accept the bad cards they were dealt, they galvanized and took democracy into their hands. Using the Wisconsin Constitution, the put into play a series of unprecedented recall elections. Since 1908, only 20 recorded state legislative recall elections have taken place.



Recall Races

(District 2)
(R) Robert Cowles vs. (D) Nancy Nusbaum

(District 8)
(R) Alberta Darling vs. (D) Sandy Pasch

(District 10)
(R) Sheila Harsdorf vs. (D) Shelly Moore

(District 14)
(R) Luther Olsen vs. (D) Fred Clark

(District 18)
(R) Randy Hopper vs. (D) Jessica King

(District 32)
(R) Dan Kapanke vs. (D) Jennifer Shilling


Republicans held onto control of the Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday, beating back four Democratic challengers in a recall election despite an intense political backlash against GOP support for Gov. Scott Walker's effort to curb public employees' union rights.

Fueled by millions of dollars from national labor groups, the attempt to remove GOP incumbents served as both a referendum on Walker's conservative revolution and could provide a new gauge of the public mood less than a year after Republicans made sweeping gains in this state and many others.

Even though the Democrats failed to capture the majority in the State Senate through these recalls, I think they set the tone for 2012 and have given Americans a bigger picture - democracy at work. I don't see this as a loss. This is a sign of bigger things to come and more work to be done.

Did Citizens United play any role in the outcome of the recall elections?
Do yesterdays recall elections set the tone for 2012?
Did Democrats loose the War or did they win the Battle?
Will the recall elections impact the likelihood of Scott Walker being recalled in January 2012?

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